City Lights: Zombie Month in Toronto continues to grow
For the past few years, I have thought of October as Zombie Month. As much as I have always been a big kid and loved Halloween, watching the annual Toronto Zombie Walk (torontozombiewalk.ca) grow by leaps and bounds has been exciting.
At first I credited it to the fact that George Romero, the charming and down-to-earth director of Dawn of The Dead and countless zombie spin-off films, moved to Toronto to live – but after last year in Ottawa and some internet investigation, I’ve discovered it’s more popular every year in many cities around the world, not just Toronto. I’m not sure why but Canada and Australia seems to really take their zombies seriously!
And make no mistake, this is not simply a teenage zombie fest. The walking dead on parade are all ages and often you’ll see families all made up to look ghoulish. I imagine if I was young and took place in a zombie march I’d have never been afraid of a monster under the bed or in the closet.
On Oct. 20 at noon, thousands of zombies will meet at Nathan Phillips Square and at 3 p.m. the five “kill-o-metre” stroll through the city commences. Out-of-town guests please take note: the Sheraton Hotel directly across from city hall has special rates for zombies.
If you still haven’t had enough un-dead after your five-kilometre walk you can always check out the Power House of Terror (charityhaunt.ca) that features Ivan the witch and the Mental Floss Sideshow. I am happy to report that for the first time, the Toronto Zombie Walk has partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to help carry out its mission of eliminating heart disease and stroke. There’s got to be a joke in there somewhere, but I’m just happy to see a charity can benefit from this monkey, er, zombie business.
Films After Dark
The After Dark Film Festival celebrates its seventh year from Oct. 18-26 at the Bloor Hot Docs Theatre. I often avoid scary or violent films but to get in the spirit of Halloween there is nothing like a few crazy art films or surreal comedies. They’ll be showing dozens of films but I’ve picked three that I hope to catch:
• Sushi Girl is described as a stylish, violent crime film in the mould of Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and stars Danny Trejo from Machete and Mark (Luke Skywalker) Hamill.
• The film Wrong by Quentin Depieux sounds even better. It was a hit at Sundance and tells the story of very strange things that happen to a man as he tries to track down his kidnapped dog.
• Finally, of all the films at this festival, I know I want to see Lloyd The Conquerer, which is a Canadian fantasy-comedy starring Harland Williams, who was a close friend when I was in my 20s and he sometimes recorded or performed with my band Look People. After seeing Williams’s hilarious cameos in There’s Something About Mary and Dumb And Dumber it’ll be fun to see what he does as a lame Vulcan.
Festival of Authors comes to Harbourfront
For those of you who are not inclined to watch zombie movies or dress like one, you’ll be glad to know the 33rd annual International Festival of Authors (readings.org) takes place Oct. 18-28 at Harbourfront. Over 100 authors from around the world take part in readings, interviews and round tables and offer a chance for you to purchase books and have them signed. Some of the visiting dignitaries include Giller Prize-winning author of A Fine Balance and Family Matters, Rohinton Mistry; CBC personalities and authors Jonathan Goldstein, Nora Young and Jian Ghomeshi, who will all be interviewed by Sook-Yin Lee; Lee Child, reading from his latest work and interviewed by Adrienne Clarkson; and Canadian film icon Gordon Pinsent, discussing his latest book.
Whether you are someone who wants to learn about writing a book of your own, or simply enjoys reading, you are sure to find something fascinating at this festival. Me? I will be sure to take in the round-table discussion on Oct. 27 called Zombies, Witches, Killers & Cowboys.
All treat, no tricks!